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Questions to ask prospective childminder...?

(12 Posts)
PurpleCrazyHorse Tue 09-Feb-10 15:08:29

Hi, I've just started looking for a local childminder (in Cardiff/Caerphilly) for our PFB. I go back to work in mid-May but hope to start DD with the childminder before then so we can build up the days gradually beforehand. Is this usual?

Also... what questions do I need to ask, can I check qualifications anywhere and is there anything else I should know to put my mind at rest. DD won't be with them full-time but I want her to be safe and to have fun on the days she is there.

I don't want to come across as a neurotic first-timer but I do want to reassure myself.


sandripples Tue 09-Feb-10 17:22:17

I had a great childminder for c7 years. I'd ask;

How much experience do you have and with which age groups?
What training have you done?
Could you tell me about a typical day? - what do you do with the children/babies each day?

How do you adapt activities as babies become toddlers and up to age 5?

Do you charge for outings? if so, is it simply entrance fees or also petrol?

What sort of meals do you provide?

How flexible can you be about any changes to times?

What do you do if one of the children is ill - can you still look after them?

Do you have children of your own? (Useful to find out about them, attitudes to school etc - range of activities own children do)

ALSO - check for yourself what the home feels like - is the telly on during your visit? If so are you OK with that or not? Are there signs of varied activities eg good range of toys, books?

Do you have Health and Safety and First Aid Training and do you mind shoing me your certificates?

Could you tell me the names of a couple of other parents I could speak to for references?

Also check registartion with local authority.

Persoanlly for me it was a combination of all these things, but other mothers' opinions counted for a lot. I was informally warned off a couple of CMs - we are still friends with the lady and family I eventually chose after interviewing seven.

sandripples Tue 09-Feb-10 17:23:18

BTW yes its usual to have a few practise days to build things up.

PurpleCrazyHorse Wed 10-Feb-10 11:14:03

Thanks, that's really helpful. Will, plan to see a good number - not back at work until May so hoping I've got enough time to find someone suitable.

pippin26 Wed 10-Feb-10 12:46:07

Sandripples has given some great advice there already but I would add, make an appointment to go and see 3/4 childminders and get a feel for them. Trust your gut instincts.

If you narrow it down to 2 then ask to go back and see them again, perhaps with your child.

Ask what their settling in policy is, how many visits do they offer (do they charge for these - some do some don't) etc.
At some point before signing contracts you should see the minders policies and procedures and this includes health and safety, safeguarding, complaints, and all sorts of others. I would recommend reading them and if you don't understand, talk to the minder.
A good professional minder won't mind you asking questions at all and will go through things with you.

Ask if she has any references or if you can talk to ex clients or current clients (she should have permission before passing on contact details).

If none of the first minders you look at aren't right then keep searching - you will find that 'perfect' one.

Be aware though, some minders houses aren't pristine and tidy, they should be clean and safe though.

Ripeberry Wed 10-Feb-10 12:52:18

Lots of good advise above. Another thing, a good CM will show you around their home and encourage you to ask questions, they should give you a welcome pack and at no time should you feel under pressure to sign on the doted line.
They should give you time to think about everything and if you want to go ahead, then arrange a second visit to do contracts.
But also for each CM that you contact or visit but don't want to use....please, please let them know, thank you but no thank you.
It is very frustrating when parents visit or call and never get back to you, even when they have made an appointment.
Hope you find your ideal CM soon smile

PurpleCrazyHorse Wed 10-Feb-10 22:24:05

Thanks for all the good advice, it's really appreciated. I'm feeling a bit more confident that I know what to expect and what to ask (without sounding like an idiot).

lowrib Thu 11-Feb-10 11:54:34

Is it normal to ask to see their Ofsted report?

majafa Thu 11-Feb-10 12:04:47

I have my Ofted report in my Profile folder which also holds Certificates, Policies, and other information with regards to my setting.

Gluggy Mon 15-Feb-10 12:49:23

Yes its perfectly normal to ask to see their Ofsted report and references.

All good ideas above. I always print a copy of my policies etc and give them to a parent - i call it a parent pack and it has sample menus as well as my policies.

Don't be afraid to ask loads of questions - its actually harder for the CM if you don't have lots - some people are not as confident in giving a full over view of their setting as others. Prepare a list and take it with you. It can be a bit like buying a house - you get your impression of a CM within the first few minutes of meeting.

Good luck

budgerigar Mon 30-May-11 17:37:00

Hi, I am unable to find wraparound care for my 3 year old and am thinking of finding a registered child minder to drive her from one nursery to another 3 times a week; however i'm not sure where to start and how to ensure they are safe to drive my daughter. Any advice would be much appreciated.

footychick Mon 30-May-11 17:45:33

You could also try looking at the NCMA publication home from home ( very helpful with a list of questions you may ask.

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